THE decision by new coach Darren Lehmann to pair former opener Shane Watson and Chris Rogers at the top of the Australian batting order has paid immediate dividends.
In the team's final tune-up for the first Ashes Test, Watson made 109 off 139 balls against Worcestershire - his first century since scoring 126 against India in Mohali in 2010. He figured in a confidence-boosting 170-run partnership with Rogers, who made 75 off 127 balls.
Ed Cowan, dropped down to No.3, made a patient 58 off 114 balls, and skipper Michael Clarke, playing his second game of the tour, added 62 off 88.
Cowan and the suspended David Warner have opened in the past 17 Tests, during which time Watson (pictured) has averaged just 26.45 batting at either first or second drop.
Australia went to stumps on day one of the four-day match on 4-340, with Steve Smith 21 not out and Phil Hughes, who made two half-centuries last week against Somerset, 10 not out.
The first Test starts at Trent Bridge next Wednesday.
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